Capitol Preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

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The state Supreme Court holds oral arguments next week on two cases involving local term limits.

Meanwhile, candidates have until Tuesday to turn in campaign finance reports for the first quarter of the year.

Also this week, the general election comes to Florida as President Obama raises money in South Florida. Earlier on Tuesday, Obama has an official event, speaking about the economy at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.


BARREL RACING CASE BEGINS: An administrative law judge will start hearing arguments in a case that challenges barrel racing at a new Gadsden County pari-mutuel facility. Two quarter-horse groups contend that the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation improperly approved a license because barrel racing is not a legally allowed type of pari-mutuel race. The hearing could last as long as three days. (Monday, 9 a.m., Division of Administrative Hearings, DeSoto Building, 1230 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee.)

COSTELLO TOWN HALL: Rep. Fred Costello, a candidate for congress, holds a town hall meeting Monday in DeLand. (Monday, 6 p.m., DeLand City Hall, DeLand.)


COUNTY COMMISSION TERM LIMITS ARGUED: The Supreme Court on Tuesday hears arguments in a challenge to the constitutionality of local term limits in Broward County, which would have an effect on term limits for a number of local commissions. There are at least 10 counties whose charters have term limits for county commissioners, including many of the most populous – in addition to Broward, Palm Beach, Duval, Hillsborough, Orange, Polk, Sarasota and Volusia all have term limits. At issue is whether term limits can be put in place in any way other than changing the constitution. Broward has a 12-year term limit in its charter, but a circuit court agreed that term limits could only be put in place through a change to the state constitution. Last year, the Fourth District Court of Appeal disagreed because the office of county commissioner in a charter county isn’t an expressly authorized constitutional office. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Florida Supreme Court, 500 S. Duval St., Tallahassee.)

ANOTHER TERM LIMITS ARGUMENT: As soon as it hears Telli v. Broward County, the court moves on to a similar case, Antunes vs. Sarasota County in which Antunes and 16 other Sarasota County voters have challenged a court order barring enforcement of term limits on county commissioners there. The trial court denied their motion to dissolve the permanent injunction, which had been ruled unconstitutional after voters added them to the county charter in 1998. (Tuesday, Following the Broward case, Florida Supreme Court, 500 S. Duval St., Tallahassee.)

PSC SIFTS THROUGH TECO GYPSUM PLAN: The Florida Public Service Commission will consider a proposal by Tampa Electric Co. to pass along $55 million in costs to customers for a new gypsum storage facility. Gypsum is a byproduct of utilities using what are known as “scrubbers” to reduce air emissions at coal-fired power plants. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

HONORING BILL COTTERELL: A luncheon hosted by Ron Sachs Communications will honor retiring Tallahassee Democrat scribe Bill Cotterell. The event is a fundraiser for an internship that will be named for him at the Democrat. (Tuesday, 11:45 a.m., Goodwood Museum, 1600 Miccosukee Rd., Tallahassee.)

COSTELLO TOWN HALL: Rep. Fred Costello, a candidate for congress, holds a town hall meeting Tuesday in Ormond Beach. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., Ormond Beach City Hall, Ormond Beach.)

OBAMA TOUTS ECONOMY AT FAU: President Obama will speak about the economy at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton on Tuesday. (Tuesday, 2:55 p.m., Florida Atlantic University Arena, 777 Glades Rd., Boca Raton.)


OBAMA AT SOFLA FUNDRAISER: President Obama will be in Broward County Tuesday to raise money. Obama is expected to deliver remarks at the fundraising reception in Hollywood. Broward has long been thought of as Democratic territory, and it was good to Obama in 2008, when he got 67 percent of the vote there compared to 32 percent for John McCain. But, perhaps surprisingly, Mitt Romney has raised more money so far this cycle from the Fort Lauderdale area than Obama, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics’ Fort Lauderdale area zip codes have sent Romney just over $383,000, while Obama has raised just under $333,000 from the Fort Lauderdale area. (Tuesday, 6:15 p.m., Westin Diplomat Hotel, 3555 S. Ocean Dr.., Hollywood.)

FIRST QUARTER CAMPAIGN REPORTS DUE: Reports of fundraising totals through March 31 are due to the Division of Elections by April 10.


KEN JONES AT SUNCOAST TIGER BAY: Ken Jones, President and CEO of the 2012 Republican National Convention, speaks at the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club in St. Pete. Jones is a former staffer to Trent Lott. (Wednesday, 12 p.m., St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.)


SUPREME COURT OPINIONS: The Florida Supreme Court releases opinions. (Thursday, 11 a.m.)

CAPITOL TIGER BAY SESSION REVIEW: The Capitol Tiger Bay Club hears from members of the Tallahassee Press Corps about the just concluded session. (Thursday, 11:45 a.m., Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center, Tallahassee.)

FIRST LADY AND MRS. BIDEN AT NAS JAX: First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, will meet with high school girls at Naval Air Station Jacksonville on Thursday. A release from the White House says they will invite young women from military families to “a celebration honoring their service to our nation as members of a military family.” The First Lady will give remarks. (Thursday, 6 p.m., NAS Jacksonville.)

CENSUS RELEASES STATE GOVT TAX COLLECTIONS FOR 2011: The U.S. Census bureau releases its annual summary of taxes collected by states for up to 25 categories, such as property tax, sales and gross receipts taxes, license taxes, income taxes and others. Data also provide details on tax collections by type of tax imposed and collected by state governments. (Scheduled for release April 12.)

EXECUTION: Convicted serial killer David Alan Gore is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Thursday. (Thursday, 6 p.m., Florida State Prison.)


SOUTHERLAND FUNDRAISER: Lex and Carol Anne Thompson host a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland. (Thursday, 5:30 p.m., 6863 Proctor Rd., Tallahassee.)


BOARD OF MEDICINE HEADS TO JAX: The Florida Board of Medicine is scheduled to hold two days of meetings in Jacksonville. (Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m., Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, 225 East Coastline Drive, Jacksonville.)

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.